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The Monday Roundup: Oil ad ban, bike share bacteria, one less parking lot, and more

Posted by on February 3rd, 2020 at 8:02 am

Here are the most noteworthy items we came across in the past seven days…

New Amsterdam: Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is running for re-election on a platform of carfree, bike-oriented neighborhoods where you can get to everything you need in 15 minutes or less without using a car.

Ad ban: UK media giant The Guardian says they will no longer accept advertising from oil and gas companies because they take an active role in preventing action on climate change. How long until media companies start doing this to automakers?

Shoulders of giants: San Francisco’s Market Street is carfree and the SF Chronicle went into their archives to pay tribute to the activists that helped make it happen.

Duh: A fascinating new study validates what many bicycle riders have known for years about the behavioral tendencies of men who drive BMWs and Mercedes.

No more Dirt Rag: A pioneer of mountain biking media has called it quits. We are sad but grateful to have enjoyed the gift of Dirt Rag for so many years.

Bike share bacterium: Ever wondered about the germs on the saddle and grips of bike share bikes? If so, this new research on the topic is for you.

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Whose streets?: How much of our humanity has car culture taken away? A police officer in central California arrested a man who walks along the road with three mules because he wasn’t using a car. Repeat after me: Roads aren’t dangerous, drivers of cars are dangerous.

Scooter user discrimination: I’m so tired of cities getting tough on scooter users while they mostly just look the other way at auto users.

Do this, Portland: One of the way’s Vienna is fighting the War on Cars is to give people free admission to museums and other cultural sites if they show up by bike, foot, or transit.

Local Focus

Politics and bedfellows: Noted transportation reform activist (and BikePortland contributor/supporter) Scott Kocher made a donation to PBOT Commissioner Chloe Eudaly even though he’s a vociferous critic of some of the agency’s work.

One less parking lot: The Portland Parks & Recreation bureau plans to extend the North Park Blocks by one block north (adjacent PNCA) as part of the Broadway Corridor development.

Bow wow beer: Cycle Dog, a Portland company that makes dog products out of recycled bicycle inner tubes, has added a pub to their retail store.

Video of the Week

Someone in Berlin hacked Google Maps into thinking streets were full of cars so they wouldn’t be full of cars. It’s one way to reduce cut-through drivers from neighborhood streets! (H/T Go By Bike on Twitter)

Tweet of the Week

Alissa Walker shared a fantastic thread about all the car ads during the Super Bowl:

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

Love the google map hack with the cell phones in a kids wagon. Take that Wazers.

Rivelo
Guest

The Mercedes story reminds me of an old joke.

Q: What’s the difference between a Porsche and a porcupine?

A: With the porcupine, the pricks are on the outside.

curly
Subscriber
curly

As a German car repair technician the joke is;

Q: What’s the difference between a Porsche owner and a porcupine?
A: The prick is behind the wheel…

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A
drs
Guest
drs

Absolutely tragic. Low visibility should never be a legitimate excuse for running over a person and ending their life with a motor vehicle. People should slow down when visibility is low.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Chevy Silverados have limited visibility even in good weather.

soren
Guest
soren

The study that reported that men who own high-status cars tend to be more disagreeable, less empathetic, and less cooperative is not terribly surprising. I suspect that men who own high-status bicycles also tend to have these traits.

Rivelo
Guest

People who buy *anything* with the belief that the goods they’re purchasing confer “status” probably fall into that trap, regardless of their gender, and regardless of whether it’s a bicycle, a car, a fancy watch, an expensive camera, or a high-end stereo system.

It’s possible to be kind and humble *and* appreciate quality construction, performance, and design. The consumers who are drawn merely by the “status” they believe is implied by their choice of those items are sadly not the connoisseurs they hope to be seen as, whether they realize it or not.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Specifically, the study noted that Finnish men who have certain personality traits such as “low agreeableness” tended to be drawn towards high status brands. This tells us that such people are more likely to own a high status automobile, but doesn’t tell us that those who own high status automobiles posses these traits. This finding would probably be true of other status items such as watches.

“The results regarding agreeableness are consistent with prior work that has argued for the role of narcissism in status consumption.”

I find this a mildly interesting, but largely unsurprising finding.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ijop.12642

Jason H
Guest
Jason H

Exactly. From the conclusion of the very article:

“The study also found that conscientious men and women—people who are organized, ambitious, respectable, and often high-performing—are also frequent owners of high-status cars, which Lönnqvist says likely reflects an appreciation for quality and an urge to present a self-image of classy reliability. You can probably tell the difference by whether or not they’re speeding, weaving through traffic, and cutting off pedestrians.”

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

That’s ironic, coming from you.

Rivelo
Guest

Middle of the Road Guy
That’s ironic, coming from you.Recommended 4

Ha ha. I am basing my opinion on 20 years in the bike industry. I sold plenty of bicycles to customers —both men and women — who had zero concern for “status,” but were all about getting a comfortable, quality, beautiful, lifetime bike from a small company they felt good about supporting.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Sorry Rivelo, I meant Soren!

q
Guest
q

Why?

ed
Guest
ed

I just knew someone would go there Soren. Keep it up with the sexist stereotyping of other cyclists. You exhibit a long standing trait of those “in the know” cycling wise – the circular firing squad. Let’s all make crass, base assumptions of other cyclists not like us, roadies if you’re a mtn biker, vice versa if a mtn biker. If a commuter, sneer at both. If a woman then to male cyclists, and vice versa if a man. If owning less expensive bikes then go at it to those who invest more. Yep; really productive. Jonathan owns some high end bikes; is he in your classification too? Can you imagine the reaction here on bike portland if a man tried to push an outrageous stereotype about women cyclists? Please check yourself….

Toby Keith
Guest
Toby Keith

Yeah don’t get me started on obnoxious women who drive SUV’s.

Rivelo
Guest

Middle of the Road Guy
Sorry Rivelo, I meant Soren!Recommended 5

Thanks, Middle of the Road Guy. I’m a semi-infrequent visitor to these BP discussions, so I don’t know all players or their viewpoint(s).

Adam
Guest
Adam

Not quite, but I can see why you were confused: “The answers were unambiguous: self-centered men who are argumentative, stubborn, disagreeable and unempathetic are much more likely to own a high-status car such as an Audi, BMW or Mercedes,” say the researchers in a press release.

So, if you meet a jerk you can guess their car more confidently, not the other way around.

q
Guest
q

“So, if you meet a jerk you can guess their car more confidently, not the other way around.”

The “not the other way around” may or may not be true. Jerks tend to drive Porsches and BMWs (from the study). But if there are a lot of jerks, and a lot of them choose Porsches and BMWs, then a higher percentage of owners of those brands will be jerks than is true of other brands. If there aren’t many jerks, it may be that only 1% of owners of Porsches and BMWs are jerks. If there are many, and they really do tend to favor those brands over others, it could be that, say, 50% or 60% are jerks. If that unknown percentage is high enough, you really could more confidently guess that someone driving that brand could be a jerk.

My guess is you’re right, but it’s a guess.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I hope we’d all know by now that stereotyping a person by membership in a group is deeply problematic, even if it has some statistical basis.

q
Guest
q

I know that, but I’m not going to make any assumptions about anyone else knowing it, even if it may be statistically likely.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

re: museums and cultural venues giving free/reduced admission to non-car-arriving people: we do the opposite in this country. It’s (literally!) called “validating” your parking. I’ve never thought about what a poignant choice of words that is before, but now I can’t un-think it.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

The study may be right that the connection between a-holeishness and Euro luxury-car ownership is stronger among men may be true, but I’ve noticed a significant correlation among women too.

I live in a place where people drive quite a bit more aggressively in general than in Portland, and on at least a monthly basis I see a really outrageous move, like crossing the centerline, or moving into the bike lane or parking lane and then speeding up to 50+ mph to pass other cars on a 30 mph city street comparable to, say, Stark Street. So I see some crazy shit. And one of the most egregious examples I’ve seen was committed by a woman in a Mercedes SUV.

EP
Guest
EP

Re: Bike Share Bugs, I wonder how the bacteria on grips and seats compare to the bus, MAX, grocery carts, etc. Hopefully healthier people are riding bikes? Not sure though. I used to MAX to Union Station and grab a bike for the last mile to work. Usually wore gloves in the AM ’cause it was cold. Definitely had some sticky grips in the PM on summer days. I think it’s like any kind of public transit experience; always remember to wash your hands when you get where you’re going.

SD
Guest
SD

The bike share bug article is junk science. Basically they found bacteria that live on people are also on bike seats and the bacteria in air samples are different. The suggestion that this confers a greater risk of infection for bike share riders is thrown in for hype.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I’d be curious how these results would differ from examining bacteria on bar stools or door handles, or other surfaces frequently sat upon/gripped.

SD
Guest
SD

Most likely they would be statistically the same, which would be a surprise to no one and would probably not be published.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Unlike the finding that bacteria in air differ from those on a bike seat. Obvious and unpublishable.

SD
Guest
SD

Good point. The bias in this type of science publishing is usually weighted toward disproving the null hypothesis. Despite being peer-reviewed, this journal probably didn’t think much beyond the headline that bacterial pathogens were found on bike seats. I’m surprised/ not surprised that it made it into the lay press.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

People in this country are wayyy too germophobic. Much of the epidemic of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is due to overuse of antibacterial soaps and similar products. That stuff should never have been legal outside (1) hospitals, (2) by people with weakened immune systems, or (3) during pandemics. Allowing it to be used by the paranoid public has been a disaster responsible for hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths over the years. Articles like this only fuel the stupidity.

Jason
Guest
Jason

I wonder, do healthier people actually carry more germs? If that sounds absurd, then I ask you, why would they carry less?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Do you define “germ” has any tiny creature (bacteria, protozoa, virus, etc.), or only those that cause disease?

Jason
Guest
Jason

I think it’s intuitive to differentiate illness causing microbiology as germs. Separate from other tiny creatures.

Matthew in PDX
Guest
Matthew in PDX

John Lascurettes
That mule story is absurd and classist bullying. I hope some local lawyer takes up his case pro-bono. Top comment of the story is naturally about someone complaining that he was creating a “traffic hazard”.Recommended 0

It would not surprise me in the least if the person/people complaining about John Sears and his mule train was some busy body whose aesthetic sense was affronted by an old dude and some mules. If I had to guess, it was a Karen wearing mules.

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

Never saw Jon and Ponch pull a “CHiPS” bust on mules.

Worf, he might.

Lowell
Guest
Lowell

Fortunately, Mule was able to retain a lawyer and get the charges dropped…

“I am pleased to announce that District Attorney Dan Dow has advised me today, February 1, 2020, that the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office will be declining to file a criminal complaint against my client, Mule, ‘in the interest of justice.'”

Found on the top post of the 3mules.com blog.

Alan 1.0
Subscriber

https://3mules.com

Thx! Enjoyed reading that blog immensely.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

>>> That mule story is absurd and classist bullying. <<<

You mean an agrarian gentlemen being harassed by working class riff-raff?

I do agree that it is absurd.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

You mean calls from other working-class stiffs afraid of being late for work?

Fundamentally we agree — those with the means and to travel leisurely by mule should not be bothered by those of lesser station. Classic classist harassment.

X
Guest
X

Is a mule necessarily more expensive to maintain than a car? Cars can’t graze as they travel, and mules don’t need timing belts.

How a person spends their time is their own business.

Lowell
Guest
Lowell

If you want to see the kind of money this “man of means” spends to live his chosen lifestyle, you can at https://3mules.com/expense-ledger/. Spoiler alert: his yearly expenses have never eclipsed $5,000.

To argue that the people in cars calling the cops on him are of some lower class seems pretty ridiculous to me. He forgoes all sorts of creature comforts to live his chosen lifestyle, comforts that those lower-class, working stiffs would never ever give up. And he maintains a popular blog to foster a fanbase, from which he can solicit donations when he is short on money. Which is to say, he works too.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I was satirizing the the conclusion that this was an example of class bullying.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

The most absurd part of that mule story was that anyone could be arrested for “resisting arrest” per se. If officers anywhere can get away with that—whether or not the circular charges are eventually dropped—then we avoid tyranny only as long as Law Enforcement remains “benevolent”.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

“Stubborn mule cited for resisting arrest.”

Well, of course.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Indeed, but it’s already worse than that in this case. An officer should NEVER be able to walk up to anyone and say “You’re under arrest…for resisting arrest”. You MUST be under arrest for something else before you can even begin to resist. Once you’re under arrest for some other legitimate charge, then you can resist and have “resisting” charges added to the list. By logic alone, “resisting arrest” can never, ever be the first charge.

In this gentleman’s case, his failure to resist being arrested for “resisting arrest” only compounds the irony.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Pretty common practice for cops to tack on a Resisting Arrest charge if you try to “argue” with them while being arrested. And that’s by their definition of arguing, which can include simply trying to inquire as to how you allegedly broke the statute in question. Happens all the time.

BradWagon
Subscriber

Roads aren’t dangerous? I thought that was the premise behind the entire movement of improving bicycle infrastructure?

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

And the main focus of “improving” these days is “separation”. “Separation” from what? Inattentive drivers.

BradWagon
Subscriber

So you agree that we don’t need to change the roads, we just need to eliminate the cars?

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“So you agree that we don’t need to change the roads, we just need to eliminate the cars?”

Sorry, I couldn’t tell whether you were being serious or not. For clarity, there are some roads that might be dangerous due to sharp turns, train tracks, disrepair, etc., but for the most part, roads themselves are not going to injure or kill me if I use them while riding a bike. Nobody needs to be separated from the road, per se, but only from other users of the road that pose a threat. In that sense, roads, just lying there empty, are almost never “dangerous”. If you want instant danger, just add cars with impatient/inattentive drivers. Kind of a “shooting ranges don’t kill people, bullets do” situation.

Now whether we can truly “eliminate” cars is another question. But sometimes I like to imagine an alternative universe where “roads are for people”, and cars need to have separated infrastructure to isolate them from everything they can so easily destroy.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Arguably, the roads are already “for people” (a great many of whom choose to drive in cars), and auto infrastructure is generally separated from pedestrians.

I think it’s helpful to remember that most people who drive don’t want to give it up. Your vision of utopia is their vision of hell.

Jason
Guest
Jason

Moral relativism is all fine. But objectively, hunks of metal and plastic propelled at unlimited velocity in all directions is not a utopia.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“and auto infrastructure is generally separated from pedestrians.”

Most of the time. But when we think about who roads are for, we have to think about who is expected to use all the roads, and who is prohibited from using certain roads, either by law or by intimidation. People in cars have roads created for them that go literally almost everywhere. Ask Mr. Mule what happens if you try to get certain places on certain roads without a car.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Who are roads for? They’re for people, of course. Most of whom drive or use other motorized conveyances.

The failure in Mule’s case was improper policing.

q
Guest
q

Your comments make me think—while roads are rarely dangerous to people biking or walking (it’s the vehicles on them that create the danger as you say) roads are often described as being dangerous for vehicles. While you don’t often hear of someone getting injured biking or walking and say, not making a curve, it happens often with vehicles. “The driver was killed when he failed to negotiate the curve”, “the driver hit the bridge pier while attempting to take the exit”, etc.

Jason
Guest
Jason

“roads are often described as being dangerous for vehicles”
I think you and I generally agree, but I take issue with this statement. Maybe I’m splitting hairs, but just because an operator was over throttling a curve does not mean the road is at fault.

q
Guest
q

We agree totally. People are too quick to blame the road–not the driver–when a driver hurts themselves. And huge amounts of transportation budgets are spend on it.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“People are too quick to blame the road–not the driver–when a driver hurts themselves. And huge amounts of transportation budgets are spend on it.”

Ding-doodly-ding! We spend HUGE amounts on making sure drivers DON’T have to pay attention or have any particular level of skill in operating vehicles. I think a lot of drivers DO pay attention, AND have decent skills, but we (automakers and transpo departments) do indeed spend huge amounts to make attention and skill matter less and less—for drivers themselves. In the process, however, we are fomenting at least two negative (IMO) “externalities”:

1. As long as the road is safe for drivers, the road is “safe”—all others caveat viator.
2. If the road is unsafe for non-drivers, it isn’t the collective drivers’ fault, plus, see #1.

We’ve created the expectation that if I’m driving, the only thing I really ever need to slow down—or even watch—for are other cars or traffic signals.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

>>> We’ve created the expectation that if I’m driving, the only thing I really ever need to slow down—or even watch—for are other cars or traffic signals. <<<

On highways this may be true(ish); it is decidedly not true on "regular" streets.

q
Guest
q

I think it’s somewhat of an exaggeration, but based on some discussions recently on Nextdoor, it’s not far off for a sizable number of people. Someone will post about say, nearly getting hit while walking on the sidewalk by someone driving into a driveway, and many comments instantly go into, “I drive the speed limit and these pedestrians aren’t wearing reflective gear or lights, so it’s their fault if they get hit, even if they’re walking on the sidewalk”.

The idea that you may need to slow down (due to weather, traffic, darkness) if you’re not going over the posted limit is especially prevalent–I don’t think by a majority, but at least by a sizable minority.

And look at police reports–they’ll often mention, “The driver did not appear to be speeding (meaning going over the posted limit). The victim was wearing dark clothing. The conditions made it difficult to see.” Again, the standard seems to be, “as long as you’re going the speed limit, and watching out sufficiently to see people wearing reflective gear and lights, you’re meeting your obligations as a driver”. So not quite as bad as what El biciclero wrote, but still awful.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I think we agree that humans have cognitive and biological limitations that make them highly imperfect drivers, and some are downright terrible at it. We’re especially bad at seeing dark figures at night in the kind of light-and-dark lighting that characterizes a moving urban streetscape.

It may be your view that if a pedestrian is struck, it is automatically the driver’s fault. I don’t share that view, but I do believe that the driver should generally incur full liability when they injure someone. And it is my understanding that this is generally what happens.

Since I see very little prospect of wholesale change in any of this, I say bring on the robot drivers. And keep lowering speed limits!

El Oso
Guest
El Oso

I guess its fitting that the German car asshole correlation study is posted on this site. The same day a Mercedes is parked in 1/2 of the bike lane on Sandy just south of Burnside. Third day illegally parked in a 30 minute spot and still no ticket on it.

El Oso
Guest
El Oso

Thanks. I will do that. I was out of town yesterday so I figured it would have been gone by now.

El Oso
Guest
El Oso

I noticed it last night at about 445 on my way home. Thanks for posting the info. I called the Police, but because its not blocking the entire lane they directed me to PBOT (503-823-5195).

idlebytes
Guest
idlebytes

John Lascurettes
Since it’s been there for four days without moving, I reported it as abandoned today. It’s illegal to park for longer than 24 hours in Portland in the public ROW without moving it. https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/index.cfm?&a=319887#alldayRecommended 0

Their website says that but apparently they follow a different criteria if we’re to believe this claim.

https://www.reddit.com/r/Portland/comments/elk36f/psa_you_can_park_on_a_city_street_not_metered_or/